Promoting Strategic and Active Youth Participation Towards a Successful 2007 Polls

Youths Roundtable with 2007 Presidential Aspirants

Theme: Promoting Strategic and Active Youth Participation towards a Successful 2007 Polls
Country Focus: Nigeria
Historical Focus: Transition from Civil Government to Civil Government, May 29th, 2007
Historical Event Focus: Presidential Elections April 21st, 2007
Historical Engagement Activity: Youths Roundtable with 2007 Presidential Aspirants.
Call: Join Group 100, a dynamic and unusual group of young Nigerians, committed to supporting the proposed Roundtable to secure a better deal for the Nigeria youths in the emerging Nigeria
Organizing Secretariat: Youngstars Foundation

Background
Fellow Nigerian Youths, it is no longer in contention that elections are paramount features of democratic processes anywhere in the world. This is because an election outcome produces leadership, which invariable during its administration determines the direction of a society and the well being of her citizenry. Its 2007 and elections are here again. Something historical is in the offing in Nigeria. Whether we know it or not, the 2007 Elections and Transition from this government to another democracy is set to usher a new paradigm shift in our national life. Nigeria will never be the same again. Power will shift from over 70s to the under 70s to say the least. Therefore, the roles of young people in the elections and democratic processes is very critical and crucial. As youths we are also strategic stakeholders in the Nigeria Nation. We are a powerful constituency and must get involved in a more strategic way. One of which is to begin to negotiate for space in the emerging Nigeria by engaging the emerging leaders of the emerging Nigeria before the 2007 elections.

Before elections:

  • Politicians court and praise youths
  • Candidates ride with youths in buses, visit them in football fields and address them
  • Politicians promise free and better education
  • Candidates reply our letters and take our calls
  • Politicians make promises and promises
  • Candidates give youths T-shirts, face caps, bags of salt for our mothers and lunch money after rallies
  • Politicians say the votes of the youths are needed and very important to them

But after the elections, especially when they do win:

  • They become too busy to meet with the youths
  • They fly in airplanes, drive in motorcades and tinted glass jeeps and attend cocktail parties
  • They send their children to schools overseas
  • They hardly reply our letters or return our calls
  • The promises become slogans until the next Four years when they return for our votes again
  • They build mansions, give their friends inflated contracts and are caught with millions of dollars at international airports
  • Youths become too young to be consulted and involved on public policy

But the times have since changed! Youths have realized that it is their duty to demand to know from the emerging leaders what they have for the youths in very concrete terms should they assume positions of power. When they also emerge, youths shall have a credible document with which to engage the new government on youth development in Nigeria. The Roundtable is one sure way of negotiating for space in the emerging Nigeria. And to do this, dynamic young people are ready to put pressure on themselves to give voice and visibility to youth issues in Nigeria and to also ensure success of the 2007 elections. Group 100 provides a historical platform for youths to participate in a strategic way towards this goal. Members of Group 100 are young Nigerians below the ages of 35 living within and outside Nigeria, committed to ensuring the conduct of this Roundtable.

Objectives

  1. To mobilize youths from the 6 geo-political zones of the country for a representational dialogue to articulate a common document/ agenda on youth development for the 2007 the Political Parties and their Presidential Flagbeaeres
  2. To collate, understudy and analyze the manifestos and development agendas of the 2007 Presidential Candidates vis-à-vis key youth development issues articulated in their programs
  3. To interact with the Political Parties and Candidates with a view of ascertaining the practical ways or programmes of the Candidates towards youth development and achieving the MDGs during their administration.
  4. To empower participants with basic engagement skills to productively engage the 2007 Candidates, i.e. skills on critical thinking, language and document analysis, developing position statements, questions and answer (communication), advocacy, lobbying, among others
  5. To acquaint the Candidates on the felt-needs of the Nigeria youths, thus enable Candidates review and develop a more concrete youth development agenda in their manifesto
  6. To identify more creative ways young people shall actively and positively participate in ensuring a successful, peaceful and credible elections in April 2007, with emphasis on Election Observation and Monitoring

Date: Tuesday 27th – Friday 30th, March 2007
Venue: Rockview Hotel Conference Hall, Maitama Abuja
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Forum Participants: Between 70 – 120 youth leaders from the 6 geo-political zones of the country

Modality
The Roundtable is designed to be a 4-day event, schedule to hold in Abuja two weeks before the Presidential Elections. The 4-day event is divided into 2 sessions daily, Morning and Afternoon sessions.

Morning Section are for:

  • Skill Building Activities,
  • Studying and Understanding the Manifestos and Youth Agenda of Presidential Candidates,
  • Articulating points and issues for interaction with the aspirants.

During the Morning sessions, participants will be divided into syndicate or cluster groups to deliberate on Candidates Manifestos and articulate common youth issues for presentation.

Afternoon sessions are for:

  • Interacting with the Political Parties and Presidential Candidates in person on their Manifestos and development programs,
  • Interacting with Presidential Candidates on youth development issues articulated by participants from the different zones.

During the afternoon session, representatives from the Syndicate/Cluster Groups shall interact with the Candidates in a coordinated way. Towards the end, general feedbacks are shall be accepted from the general house. Prominent individuals from government, development agencies and civil society organizations shall be invited to be part of the Panel and Dialogue.

Presidential Candidates shall not attend the Roundtable by Proxy. The Candidate is however free to choose any of the days to appear. At the end of the 4 days, results of the Roundtable shall be widely publicized and circulated among youths. Approximately 70 –120 youths are expected to participate in the Roundtable.

NOTE: The Roundtable is not design to endorse any Presidential Candidate. Neither shall it be a platform for debate between the presidential candidates. Youths are rather expected to use the outcomes of the Roundtable to make informed voting choices. Efforts are being made to ensure that the Afternoon Sessions with candidates shall be broadcast Live.

Expected Outcome

  1. A national representational youth document articulating youth expectations, which can become a credible guide for youth policy and development agenda for the incoming government shall be developed.
  2. An engagement document with which young people can engage and dialogue with the new government when they emerge, shall be developed.
  3. A youth friendly strategic document articulating how youths shall be actively involved in a successful and credible election, specifically in the area of Election Observation and Monitoring; and mandate protection shall be developed.
  4. The emergence of more credible and people focused leadership from the 2007 Elections is expected.

Benefits

  1. The Presidential Candidates shall have a unique opportunity to promote their 2007 Candidature and programs to the youths and general populace at large.
  2. Candidates stand to gain strategic youth support and goodwill towards their 2007 aspirations.
  3. Youths shall acquire additional leadership and engagement skills required to effectively engage in the democratic space.
  4. New government increases investment in youths and supports them in a strategic way when in power.
  5. Youths gain more visibility and recognition in the new government and a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction for contributing to the process.

Call for Collaboration
To ensure the successful conduct of the proposed Roundtable, the importance of partnership cannot be over-emphasised. Moreso, adults and development partners have valuable experiences and resources to bring to bear on such a model initiative by young people. Partnership is also a unique way of building youth leadership and competence via-a-vis nation building. We therefore wish to solicit the support and partnership of relevant agencies and development partners towards making the Roundtable a success.

About Group 100
Group 100 are a group of young Nigerians below the ages of 35 years, genuinely passionate about a better Nigeria and a better deal for the youths in the emerging Nigeria. Group 100 members are demonstrating their commitment by donating a token of N10,000 or $100 for those outside Nigeria, to ensure that this Roundtable holds as scheduled! This is a strategic way of complimenting the support and partnership of development. For more detail about the initiators, lead youth conveners and project, please visit the project website www.youngstarsfoundation.org/group100

Workplan for Roundtable
4th Week January, 2007:
* Identify 10 Lead Conveners

1st – 4th Week February, 2007:
* Open Invitation to Group100 via online networks and others (build Group100 website)
* Identify and make contacts with relevant agencies and bodies to collaborate in ensuring that Roundtable Holds.
* Identify and initiate contact with media organizations to ensure adequate pre publicity of the event and Live Coverage of the Roundtable.
* Secure roundtable venue reservation
* General consultations and meeting with Lead Conveners and other partners.

1st – 3rd Week March:
* Production of Roundtable handbills and circulation across 36 states of the federation
* Intensify membership drive for Group100 and intensify fundraising for event
* Send special invitation to political parties and presidential candidates
* Screen and send out invitation to youths interested to participate in the Roundtable
* Intensify media activities, ie, featuring on television talkshows on NTA Network, AIT, Silverbird, Channels, MBI, LTV, etc
* Pay courtesy visits to heads of relevant organizations and specifically those collaborating towards the conduct of the Roundtable
* Confirm participation of Presidential Aspirants and final follow – up.

4th Week March:
* Examine activities’ checklist
* Host Roundtable
* Publish and circulate roundtable outcomes across the country

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